WNY Athletics

Wolverines Looking for Fast Start in ’18

Niagara Falls Football is coming off another typical Wolverine season. Take a few lumps early, learn from the losses and start a playoff run. That was the case once again in 2017.

After dropping four straight to open the season, Niagara Falls went on a four-game winning streak including an upset quarterfinal playoff win at Orchard Park.

The Wolverines were led by some of the toughest football players in WNY.

Syquan and Syveo Ralands, David Morgan, Rodney Barnes, Jermani Justus and Jordan Maday were highly regarded athletes in Section VI but have since graduated.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Niagara Falls football though. Even with all that talent moving on they can take some comfort knowing guys like Willie McDougald, Moran Montgomery, Deonte Mathews, Jamel Oliver and Javion Morris are back and ready to assume leadership roles on a very young but hungry Wolverines squad.

McDougald is also a decorated high-school wrestler who went out and won a New York State Public High-School Athletic Association title at the 132 weight division in Division I (large schools). The first state wrestling title in Niagara Falls High School history.

Wolverines’ coach Don Bass is hoping McDougald’s work ethic and discipline can rub off on his teammates help them compete for a Section VI Class AA title.

“I know it will,” said Bass, who is beginning his 10th season as head coach. “Willie is a quiet leader but he has the respect of his teammates.”

One concern Bass has is how young his offensive and defensive lines are going to be as all of his starters have graduated.

The athleticism of senior quarterback Mathews can help overcome some of the growing pains on the line.

Mathews can move in the pocket and has the ability to run for large gains. He will have to use his feet in an effort to buy time for his receivers in Montgomery, Morris, McDougald and Oliver to get open.

Bass is hopeful some of the new blood up from JV will have an impact as well, Kalem Chappel, Marcus Wilkins, Zion Paige, JoJo Dixon, Jake Robertson, Terry Gandy and Mike Jones will all be counted on this season.

Coach Bass says this year’s team motto is “Go Hard or Go Home.” In Class AA there is no other way to play.

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